The feeling will pass. At this moment, I feel a yearning to become a Mennonite. I see how it could happen in my mind. I would move to Ionia, begin attending Maple River Mennonite Church and ask for work on an elder's farm. I would contentedly sleep in a hayloft, make my nightly splash in the pig sty because pigs wouldn't notice, would they now? Why this sudden urge to go Mennonite? Pledge Mennonite? I am enjoying the scene at Fulton Street Market and two Mennonite men are quietly opening up conversations with visitors and listening with the patience of Job. Maybe I just like the outfits, ironed blue shirts and crisp black trousers, the look topped off with a black, crushable hat, lined with Remay, purchased in Pennsylvania. I asked after the brand of the hat, and he answered my question fully and settled in to talk patiently. "I suppose it's just a hat like your Duck Dynasty ball cap. We wear them to protect our heads, right"? "Right, and as I am baldish, mine is vital". Right then, the market master accosted him, nicely, and pointed out the boundaries of the free speech area. The free speech area didn't include the tree planters with seating all around. I felt like protesting because he was neither loud nor boastful. Instead, I suggested, "The sidewalk is fairly game. See where the man with the sign, 'All Sinners Will Be Destroyed' is standing? Fair game". So all four of the team, two wives and two husband, are standing on the city sidewalk, looking like a receiving line at a Mennonite wedding. Next week, I am going to suggest, bring some wooden church chairs. These missionaries do much better sitting down. It becomes a visit. As for myself, I am sure I will miss lectures at the art museum if I moved out to rural Ionia, my interest in graven images impossible to cure, even with the threat of hell fire.
A farmer has brought in Concord Grapes and a tiny grape called the Canadice. A basket set out offered a taste and I nabbed a cluster. The tiny grapes had a touch of sweet, a touch of sour and better, a hint of vinegar from grapes that had burst. I found the two beekeepers from Ada and spent four dollars on four ounces of honeycomb. One of the young women had to give up beekeeping when a single bee got by her white cover-all suit. Swelling sent her to doctor, doctor diagnosing her as severely allergic to bee venom. I had to ask, "How did you feel about giving up beekeeping"? She shrugged. "It's okay. I can still tap the maples for spring sap". The farm has more way than one to offer up sugar. I started looking at sweet corn stacked up on the table of the Ada women. It declared, "No Spray, No GMO sweet corn". I added, "And pollinated by real bees"! The former beekeeper shot back, "My boyfriend said I grew the sweetest sweet corn. I told him, 'Ah, Shucks'".
A community activist I put in a little work for almost walked into me. Not that I minded because the beautiful woman has a signature style, purple hair and a mohawk. She asked me what I was doing with day. I took it as a social question, not a chance to go out on a day long date. I said the impossible. "Today is Dally in the Alley in Detroit. It's down by Wayne State. I still can go there and see people I know from my life there". Which has been true. We hug and even kiss. Okay, I just kiss the wives of my men friends, who don't mind. It's not quite the Berlin Love Parade but it has live, raw Detroit music on three stages all day. But I should have driven to Detroit already. My Grand Rapids activist wrapped up our chat, and I thought of landing a Dally in the Alley kids on her lips. But thought about that time she was between relationships and felt glad she had left that void recently. I had to save my Dally in the Alley kiss for another, maybe another day. I really have to get back to the Dally. One year I'll be bones, welcome to show up as a skeleton of myself, but unable to afford a lift from Uber.
I got a message from my friend the young socialist. He reminded me that today was the Eastown Street Fair, and suggested we tour it at Five. "Fine, as long as it doesn't require handing out socialist literature"! I bet my community activist friend wanted me to put in some work in Eastown. Find your Dally anywhere there's an Alley.
2016 Poster by Evan Condron, the 39th in the series.